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Contact Us

Christopher Enroth
Extension Educator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
3022 W Jackson
Macomb, IL 61455
Phone: 309-837-3939
FAX: 309-833-3019

Amanda Christenson
Program Coordinator, Hort
University of Illinois Extension
180 S Soangetaha Rd, Ste 108
Galesburg, IL 61401-5595
Phone: 3093425108
FAX: 309-342-1768

Master Gardeners

Master Gardeners

Advanced Master Gardener Certification

Advanced Master Gardener Training gives active Master Gardeners an opportunity to focus in one horticulture-related topic area. The following areas of Advanced Training will be offered. These trainings provide for education in topics related to the Extension priorities and will prepare Master Gardeners to provide programming for the public in these areas as well as become more proficient in answering questions related to these issues. There are NO additional volunteer hour requirements for those receiving advanced certification. All education completed toward an advanced certification does qualify as continuing education hours. 

1. Advanced Ecology (formerly Master Naturalist) Classes such as ecology, conservation, native plants, wildlife, soils or other related topics will count towards this certification. Master Naturalist training also qualifies participants for this certification. A minimum of 20 hours of training is required.

  • Note: To maintain active status in both the Master Naturalist and Master Gardener programs, participants must complete at least 30 hours of volunteer activity in each program (at least 60 hours total), plus 10 hours of continuing education per program.

2. Sustainable Landscaping‐ A minimum of 20 hours of training is required. Classes such as Master Composter training, some Four Season Gardening Series sessions, rain barrel or rain garden classes, or other sustainable landscaping classes. Those who have completed the Master Composter class in the last 6 years will be "grandfathered" in for credit for that course. Master Composter classes are typically offered each winter.

3. Advanced IPM‐ A minimum of 20 hours of training is required. Training could include PSEP training; the NCIPM module on Diagnostics; IPM online modules; classes on invasive species; Plant Detective Training; First Detector Training; some Four Season Gardening Series sessions; Jim Schuster insect and disease workshops; and conference workshops on invasive species, weeds, insects or diseases.

4. Advanced Local Foods‐ A minimum of 20 hours of training is required. Training could include local foods training; local food or specialty crop conference sessions; GAP training or organic sessions, and some Four Season Gardening Series sessions.

Step-by-step: How to Achieve Advanced Certification

  1. Determine if you would like advanced training and certification in one or more of the focus areas.
  2. Begin the "clock" toward your certification by contacting Amanda Christenson, Master Gardener Program Coordinator, of your intention. You have two years to work toward advanced certification in a topic area.
  3. Submit allowable grandfathered hours to Amanda Christenson.
  4. Periodically submit additional training hours to Amanda. This might occur after each training program or periodically as you submit other Master Gardener hours. Amanda Christenson will determine if a class counts towards advanced training credit.
  5. Upon successful completion of an Advanced Master Gardener Training topic area, participants will be awarded a pin and certificate representative of the topic area. Advanced Master Gardeners are encouraged to wear their Advanced Master Gardener pin(s) in conjunction with their University of Illinois Extension name badge.

Other recognitions pins and certificates

In addition to these four Advanced Master Gardener pins, Master Gardeners may also receive the following pins based on their participation in the program.

  • Advancement in activity level from trainee to intern to active status (certificates only)
  • Years of service: 5, 10, 15, 20, …
  • Master Composter – special training provided by Duane Friend, extension educator in energy and environment. Pending while researching sources for pins.

For more information or to submit data, contact Amanda Christenson (see right).

 Go to this website for state policy document with "Advanced Master Gardener Training Guidelines"

Educational Opportunities